Monday, April 29, 2013

Cottage Gardens

Today I stepped outside of the box, as I got dressed this morning. I wore a coral colored skirt with a raspberry and orange shirt. It may not sound too daring to you, but it was a huge 'risk' for me who is more comfortable with predictable, orderly things.

My style for so long had been just that.......predictable, orderly, matching, formulated.

Example of a formal garden design.
Since I can remember I have always matched colors to the same color or neutral colors. Red skirt can go with a white/cream colored shirt, or a pink colored shirt but only if the pink colored shirt has the same shade of red in it somewhere.

In my gardens I always followed plans and guides. I would look at the way other designers laid out beds and learned their formulas and then reproduced them. I may have used different plants, but the same idea was just repeated and reused over and over.

Then, in my home, I would always pick neutral items, always wanting everything to 'flow' and 'go together'. The few pieces I owned that could be considered 'eye catching' were always only purchased when I had a blueprint of another house to inspire me. I looked at that inspirational house, figured out how to formulate/reproduce it in my own, and therefore, never created anything too daring.

That was where I felt comfortable. That was safe.

So you may find it funny that I love (have always loved)...............cottage gardens, crazy bohemian clothing styles, and eclectic style home furnishings.

Those three don't go with structure or order, and they break all the rules! Yet I love the way those things look. I love the riot of colors and textures!. They are vibrant and alive and they make my heart happy to look at them.
Colorful, yet still very formal garden design.

So when I was younger I use to try and study art like that....abstract/surreal, contemporary, modern. All those colors and textures drew me in. Things that had no order to them, and yet were beautiful. Then I would sit there and try to figure out a formula to reproduce it. Ha!

My point is, that I appreciated the beauty that comes from a lack of order/structure, but I didn't know how to live there myself.

Then I met a friend, Rachel Myers, who naturally did what I could not. Her clothing style was bohemian mixed with whatever she thought looked nice that day. Her gardens were always a menagerie of colors, varieties, and she even mixed veggies and flowers (oh, what a rule breaker, hahaha), and even her home furnishings were so free and creative, yet functional.

I looked and watched and appreciated her so much for those things. She taught me a lot about what my own limitations were. We would go flower shopping together and she would pick orange, red and yellow with pastel purples and yellow. I would say, 'no, you can't mix those colors' and she would say, 'why not', and I couldn't answer her.

Why not?

That simple question is what I ask myself all the time now. When I want to think, create, and live outside the 'box' of rules to make something new and beautiful, then I ask myself that question.
Why not?

For so long the reason 'why not' was because I was too afraid to try something new, take a risk, or let my natural instincts have a chance. Because maybe my natural instincts weren't right......

No! I chose now not to believe that now.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made......including my natural inclinations toward art, beauty, and nature.
Cottage boundaries.

So now, when I feel that thing rise up in me, that thing that says I can't do something, then that only tells me that it is something that is probably worth doing.

Like wearing whatever creative, vibrant colors I want to wear. Or planting whatever flowers I want to plant together. Or picking out that teal colored lamp for my living room that is decorated in reds and browns.

As I step out more and more, I am finding that my true style is more like the things I have always loved and admired.

Abstract. Bohemian. Eclectic. Cottage.

I was locked inside of a box made of fears. Fears of breaking 'rules', fears of taking a risk in mixing colors and textures, and fears of what other people might think about me if I were to really step out and show the way I really 'feel' through my sense of style.

I am finding that I have always been a lover of rainbows of colors, but had relegated myself to only the use of browns and grays  Here is to stepping out, taking a few style risks, and loving the real me all the more for the journey!

Step out and learn how much fun it can be to color outside the lines!

Cottage style garden....a riot of colors,
textures and forms!

Monday, April 22, 2013

One Mom, Loving God

I have been following hard after the Lord for almost 6 years. People who have known me longer, would say that I have been committed to the Lord longer than that, but I don't really start counting until after I truly decided to lay down all my own desires to press in to the Lord.

It was only about 6 years ago that I, for the first time, became desperate for more and more of Him. Nothing else would do in that season. I had been removed from all that was safe and familiar, and I had nothing else to fall back on. I knew the Lord was real, but for the first time, I really needed Him. Had to have Him! If I was going to survive.

And you know what?

I found Him. Or rather, He found me, and I began the process of giving Him everything. I'm obviously still in that processes, but I am astounded at how much has been accomplished in my heart in 5 years. He is a miracle worker, in more ways than just the obvious.

What the Lord accomplishes in the unseen realm is much more impressive than all the outward miracles. Only He can fully change and transform a heart/motives/desires/personality.

Okay, but that is not where I am going with this.

My point is, five years into this process of transformation, and my heart is so in love with my Creator, that some days I hardly know what to do with myself. Some days, I talk to Him so often, that it is just like talking with a friend all day. Only I ask Him all the hard questions, and press Him for the answers again and again.

He is faithful to answer too, and I can almost hear His fatherly tone sometimes when I hear His voice in my head. The kinds of things He tells me, the kinds of things He shows me, make me feel giddy inside. Not only because the things are awesome in and of themselves, but because the God of the Universe just made some mystery known to me.

He is talking to me.

What a concept.

I always used to hear spiritual people in churches talk about the Lord and they would say He was their friend, but I didn't know what that meant. I didn't know how someone could actually be friends with the God of Creation.

Now I do. Well sort of. I can't explain exactly what it feels like, but He is, and we are, friends.

Yet lately I have been getting frustrated with the way He makes me feel. He talks to me, and I feel His presence.  He reveals the meaning of scriptures to me in a personal way and He answers my questions. I see His hand moving in my life, and He provides for my family so faithfully, but I don't know how to respond.

I can feel His love some days burning inside of me like a fire. Sometimes words that He has spoken to my heart burn inside of me, but I don't know what to do with them. Other times, He shows me something in the Spirit, but I don't feel adequate enough to paint the picture or even describe it with words. Then there are times where He gives me revelation on something, but I have no one to tell. No one that would even understand what I am talking about, because there is so much more wrapped up in the idea than could ever be explained.

Does any of this make sense to anyone else?

Am I losing it?

I hope someone can relate. You know who I think I might be able to relate to. Elijah. With that fire shut up in his bones. Yet for me, it is perhaps more like 'firey love' shut up in my bones.

How to get this love out? That is the question.

Where do I put it all? It's more than I know what to do with. Who can I pour it into? Is there even a way to fully express what He is giving to me to give?

I'm not sure, but I love the way He is loving me in this season. There is such a sweetness on my days. I can hardly comprehend what it is all about, but when I lay my head on my pillow at the end of the day, there is a lingering sweetness to it, and I look to the coming day with confidence, that my God is with me.

We are friends.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Friendships are like Gold

When I moved to South Carolina almost two years ago, one of my biggest prayers was for deep and meaningful friendships with other women. I knew that would happen eventually, but I wanted it quick, because I knew I would need that "iron sharpening iron" thing happening in my life. Mom's are some of the best iron to sharpen other moms.

So I prayed for deep friendships to be made quickly, and I had a hope for a supernatural provision from the Lord concerning the request.

Oh, and did He ever provide!!!

The odds were stacked against me. We attended MorningStar Fellowship Church the last Sunday in June, before they took the whole month of July off for a church wide Sabbath month (by the way, I think that is such a cool thing for a church to do). One Sunday to make a few new friends, before the church shut down for a whole month. Wow. The Lord is awesome.

He did it!

That first Sunday my husband introduced me to two men he had met in his previous visits to MorningStar. They both had wives. That is not where the Lord stopped though. That same Sunday, in the nursery where I dropped my daughter off, I met a third woman. Another mom with a little boy in the nursery and a Tuesday mom's coffee group that met at her house weekly.

It was perfect! That mom, her name is Bree, turned out to be a real 'gatherer'! You know, one of those women who just naturally attracts people to her. She in turn, connects people with other people, while encouraging and literally breathing hospitality to all she meets. She might blush if she read this, but it's true Bree, you are amazing! God used you in a mighty way in my life, to fill a need that I had no idea how to fill.

So, that first Sunday, Bree gave me her cell phone number in the nursery and the rest is history.

However, I did have to do my small part. Miracles happen, but not inside a vacuum. I had prayed for the Lord to help me make friends, but I still had to step out. I went to coffee at a woman's house I barely knew, to meet other moms.

Out of my comfort zone? For sure.

Was it great? Yes.

That next Tuesday I met a small group of moms and to this day, those moms are still some of my dearest friends here. In fact, they are some of the dearest friends that I have ever had in my whole life. That is saying a lot, I'm almost 30 years old.

So it really was a miracle! Especially when I consider the depth of our relationships, which has been accomplished in such a short amount of time (two years).

Yet now we are moving again.

Part of me is crushed. It will be a very big sacrifice to give up living my life with these friends. I am not one of those people who walks into a new season blindly. I am always acutely aware of what I am sacrificing (what it will cost) to move in obedience to the Lord's voice. Sometimes it is a job, sometimes it is friends, sometimes it is a house I really like, sometimes it is a church I really like. I have given up all of those things before, and now I am giving up some of those things again.

Is He worth it?

I already know He is. Yet in the midst of my last big move the Lord taught me something. When you are so connected to someone, it is painful to move away from them. It is okay to be sad, and miss them terribly. There is no sin in loving your friends well, and the truest friends last, no matter how far away you move.

To all my friends, both in Kansas City and Charlotte.......I love you all so dearly.

With all my love. I wanted to honor you all for what you have been to me. Iron. Encouragement. Strength  Wisdom. Entertainment. Laughter. Real Life Love.

Now if you would all pray with me, that the Lord would raise up additional women, who will step in, and meet me where I am, in Texas. Supernatural friendships, relationships, and spiritual mothers, that would be raised up to strengthen me in this new season.